Originally, this was supposed to be the weekend for Otakon regional gatherings, but it turns out that the Philadelphia are event will be next weekend, and my husband, The Gryphon, and I won't make it. Since the pet sitters (a very nice older couple) had already planned on taking Una for the day, during which time they planned to take her to a big dog park, along with their own doggies, she told me I could leave her anyway. I dropped Una in the morning, and then came home to a quiet house and got caught up on Otakon press relations correspondence, which always seems to eat up more time than it should.
Then The Gryphon and I went out to dinner, choosing to eat at Charlie Brown's Steakhouse. We originally wanted to go to the Iron Hill Brewery in Media, but there was some sort of town-wide music event taking place, and it would have been 45 minutes before we could have been seated.
Also on Saturday, I watched the extras on the DVD for Black Snake Moan, which I'd rented on a friend's recommendation (just_the_ash) and watched Friday. It's a much better movie that you might expect, just reading the description. I mean, Samuel L. Jackson chaining Christina Ricci to a radiator to cure her of her self-destructive ways? It certainly sounds like a very exploitative movie, and yet it turns out to be a perceptive film about the power of redemption, about moving on from pain and loss, and finding healing.
In addition to fine acting, the movie is extremely well written. As I was watching the DVD extras, I learned that the director took great care to find locations that would work and to dress the set with meaningful props. This was an exceptional film, directed by Craig Brewer, who also directed Hustle & Flow.
I also liked the incorporation of blues music and was pleased to discover that Samuel L. Jackson had learned how to play the songs in the movie. Even though the music was prerecorded, his hand movements are genuine.
Rating: ***** (5 out of 5 stars)
Sunday was another quiet day. The Gryphon made me breakfast of Cream of Wheat with raisins and brown sugar. I spent most of the morning working on the new Alice in Wonderland icons, trying to figure out Twitter, and uploading pictures of my 20th high school reunion to Facebook (which took a long time, since I actually tried to identify everyone).
By the time I got around to doing anything constructive writing a poem it was almost dinner time. The Gryphon made a delicious dinner of oven-baked chicken with sweet potatoes cut into strips, sprinkled with some spices, and baked. The meal was topped off with spinach salad including green onions, grape tomatoes, a little Parmesan cheese and a dressing made from olive oil and basalmic vinegar. It was much better than if we'd gone out, honestly.
After dinner, we watched a movie we'd rented but not watched the previous day, In Bruges. It's a very dark comedy starring Colin Farrell, Brenda Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes. The movie follows two hit men (Farrell and Gleeson), as they cool their heels in Bruges, Belgium, following a job in London.
The older of the two, Ken (Gleeson), gets into the spirit of the trip, enjoying sight-seeing of the many medieval buildings. The younger guy, Ray (Farrell), would rather sit in a bar, drink Belgium beer, and flirt with pretty local women.
This film reminded me of some of Quentin Tarantino's best work, which feature people that, based on what they do, the viewer would have every right to despise. And yet, they're so flawed, so human, so vulnerable and even pathetic that they become more likable. Watching the documentary extras afterwards, that was something Gleeson pointed out. He said that the shocking thing about violence is that often the people who do those terrible things are not monster but, in fact, only human.
We both felt the movie was well-done. A warning, though, for those who don't enjoy foul language: it's got a lot of it! One of the more entertaining extras was called "Fooking Bruges," and is just a montage of all the cuss words. But the dialogue is in character and brilliant (there's something terribly amusing about watching two hardened criminals using blue language while holding tourist maps and pointing at the sights).
The setting is also amazing: they look like they're inside a Hieronymus Bosch painting. Of course, there is a reference to a particular Bosch painting, as well. I became enamored of Bosch's work in college, back when I learned that he had inspired Monty Python member and intensely creative director Terry Gilliam.
Afterwards, we worked on Wild Violet. The Gryphon worked on the home page while I redid the banner graphic and then sorted through submissions. This might not have always been the most enjoyable reading, but it was infinitely superior to reading Otakon e-mails!
Time flies, whether you're having fun or taking care of business.